Primitive measures

There are no vets in Nunavut.

Despite the fact that Nunavut has a staggering concentration of dogs—a 2007 survey found that in Iqaluit, there were nearly half as many canines as the city’s 7,000 people—there is not a single veterinarian. The lack of access to sterilization has led to overpopulation, and euthanasia (by gun) is seen as a necessary evil to control numbers and disease. Common illnesses, easily preventable with vaccination, often run rampant. In Iqaluit, a recent outbreak of canine parvovirus, which leads to vomiting, diarrhea and possibly death, prompted council to pass an emergency measure: unclaimed strays could be destroyed by bylaw officers after 12 hours, rather than the standard 72. Says Janine Budgell, who runs the territory’s only humane society, in Iqaluit, “People don’t know how under-resourced we are, and how primitive the measures [that are used].”

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